Stealing, damaging electoral posters: NatJoints says 50 people arrested for breaching Electoral Act



Published May 30, 2024


At least 98 cases of contravention of the Electoral Act have been opened since Monday, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) said on Thursday night.

Chairperson of NatJoints, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili said at least 50 accused persons were arrested.

She said one of the accused people has made a court appearance, while the rest of the arrested people will soon appear before prioritised courts.

“Tomorrow (Friday) is the last day for those that were processed today. Gauteng has the most, where they arrested 20 people,” she told journalists at the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) National Results Operations Centre in Midrand.

Chairperson of NatJoints, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili. File Picture

“Not all of them (arrested people) have already been processed, meaning the number that I gave you, of 50 people arrested is going to change when the people are processed on the system. At national, we rely on the system – when you charge a person, take their fingerprints and make the docket ready for the person to appear before court.”

She said some of the cases include malicious damage to property, stealing of political party posters on the streets, destroying electoral material, assaulting electoral officials, while some of the cases are of intimidation.

Election posters in Cape Town. File Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Earlier on Thursday, IOL reported that police in Gauteng have arrested at least 20 people in connection with election-related crimes, as the law enforcement agents seek to maintain peace after the voting and throughout the collating of the votes.

A day after the voting process, Gauteng police provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Tommy Mthombeni said the number of people arrested for election-related crimes has increased to 20.

“Indeed, it was a little bit challenging in terms of ensuring that the communities are, and feel safe, but we were in a position to restore order. I can confirm that since our last update, the number of the cases reported has indeed gone up and currently we are having 20 within the province,” Mthombeni said in an interview with the SABC.

Provincial commissioner of police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Tommy Mthombeni. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers.

On the eve of the election day, the Electoral Commission of South Africa reminded voters to avoid taking pictures of their marked ballot papers.

“Voters are reminded that it is an offence to take and/or publish photographs that reveal a person’s vote on a ballot paper. The purpose of this law is to maintain the secrecy of your vote and the privacy of others. It is crucial to understand this regulation in the context of its purpose: to protect vulnerable voters from coercion.

“For instance, workers could be ordered to photograph their marked ballots in exchange for favours, or a party might demand such images in return for money or food parcels. To safeguard the integrity of our electoral process and ensure that every vote is free from undue influence, wait until you have left the voting station before sharing a selfie,” the IEC said in a message shared on social media platform X.

“Those suspects have been arrested.”

He indicated that some of the people were arrested for taking pictures with their ballot papers, which is an offence.

“You know that the voting process was under way recently, and some of the cases, for example, you find that a particular individual casts his vote, and after casting his vote, they then takes a picture – which is prohibited.